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The Facts Are Clear About Long Term Care Insurance in California

The Facts Are Clear About Long Term Care Insurance

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Anyone with even a passing experience with Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s or elder frailty can appreciate the severity and financial devastation of these all-too-common life events and the inevitable care required.

This is why we want protection.

  • The average Ancient Greek lived until age 18. The median life span of a Puritan was 33. The average American  life expectancy is now about 75 years for men, 84 for women. Over half of Americans will spend part of these these extended years in long term care situations.
  • By 2030, one in five Americans will be a senior citizen. If you are a Baby Boomer, this includes you.  Americans are living longer and healthier, thanks to better diet, better medical care and safer living & working environments. Yet no one is immune to the effects of aging and longevity – effects that often result in reduced physical or mental ability.
  • In 1994, 7.3 million Americans needed long term care (LTC) services at an average cost of nearly $43,800 per year. By 2000, this number rose to 9 million Americans at nearly $55,750 per year. It’s currently near $75,000 per year. By 2030 those needing LTC will skyrocket to 23+ million Americans, with projected, individual long term care costs reaching $300,000 annually per individual!

Will you have that kind of money to spare?

With a history of millions of Americans in care situations living with longevity, elder frailty, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Spinal Cord Injury, Cerebral Palsy, accidents and other conditions that affect 50+% of folks over age 65 , we can testify to the need for mature thinking and adult decisions when it comes to long term care planning.

If you are planning ahead and need more information on Long Term Care Insurance, please visit www.californialongtermcare.com.

Not Buying Long-Term Care Insurance Can Be a Costly Mistake for California Residents

Not Buying Long-Term Care Insurance Can Be a Costly Mistake

No long-term-care insurance? Uh-oh

You probably don’t need another bill to pay. But skipping this protection could destroy your finances, even long before you’re old, or vaporize your kids’ inheritances.

Read more…

Visit www.californialongtermcare.com for information and assistance with Long Term Care Insurance in California.


Long Term Care Insurance – Answers to Common Questions in California

This article can be found at http://longtermcareinsurance.org/longtermcareinsurance.html

Will You need Long Term Care?

It’s hard to believe, but the estimated risk for needing Long Term Care continues to climb with each passing year. Now, the Federal government estimates that each individual has a 70% chance of needing Long Term Care in their lifetime. Recent studies reveal that if you are 60 years old you have more than a 60% chance of needing long term care. If you are over 65 years old, your chances of needing care goes up to 70%.

Who Is More At Risk for Needing Long Term Care?

Your age, marital status, gender, lifestyle and, to some extent, your family health history all play a part in the possibility of needing long term care.

According to insurance actuarials, you are more at risk if you:

* are older

* are a woman

* are single

* have a poor diet

* don’t exercise regularly

* smoke

* have a family history of Alzheimer’s, stroke, arthritis, or other degenerative diseases.

* Also, physical activities that can cause severe accidents should be included as a definite risk.

The Long Term Care Cycle

91% of Americans surveyed said they would prefer receiving Long Term Care at home. Indeed, of those needing care only 5% are in Skilled Nursing Facilites.

12% are in Assisted Living Facilities and more than

80% are receiving Home Care

Therefore, it isn’t a surprise that most Long Term Care starts at home with the help of family or friends until the caregiving burden becomes a too much of a hardship. The next step might be to hire a paid caregiver to help with care duties in the home. Yet many people can’t afford such a luxury, even if they hire unskilled, unlicensed, unsupervised “grey market” caregivers. As care needs increase the next care setting of preference is Assisted Living Facilities, as they are more like hotels than the hospital-type setting of a Skilled Nursing Facility. Most people do everything in their power to stay out of nursing homes, which is one reason why the average nursing home stay is only 2.5 years.

While most Americans suspect that they might need long term care “sometime” in the future, many underestimate care costs and falsely assume that Medicare or their health insurance will pay for extended care. They will not. Medicare will only pay for a short time and only under specific, limited circumstances. The only governement agencies that pay for Long Term Care are Medicaid and the Veteran’s Administration. Both are notorious for their lack of care quality and poor quality of life for their residents.

Boomers’ Mindset

Boomers have been raised to expect a decent quality of life and the freedom to make their own choices. They cherish independence, pleasure and, as they have matured, the joys of family and friends.

As a generation, Boomers were not raised to expect or shoulder sacrifice, although they can and do rise to the occasion. For most, the mere thought of a loved one enduring the extraordinary burden and sacrifice of day-to-day caregiving is enough to motivate Boomers to protect themselves and their families.

The value of Long Term Care insurance is that it:

1) supports independence by providing the ability to pay for Home Care and Assisted Living costs. It give people choices.

2) protects loved ones from the burdens of caregiving.

Long Term Care insurance should be called “nursing home and family caregiving prevention insurance”, and for these benefits alone it is worth its price.

Either having LTC insurance or paying for care costs out-of-pocket allows you to choose where to receive care, even when caregiving needs increase. However, Long Term Care insurance is less expensive in the long-run.

When Should I Buy Long Term Care Insurance?

The sooner the better! LTC insurance premiums go up in price as you get older, although once you buy a policy your premiums do not rise due to aging or health. For years, financial planners were telling their clients to wait until age 65, but this is no longer considered sound advice. The Federal and State Partnership Programs encourage people to buy as early as age 40, mostly to increase the financial security of the programs, but also to ensure that people do not become a burden on Welfare/Medicaid if they get sick or injured at an early age and need long term care.

If you can afford the premium for years to come, buy now to protect yourself and your family.

Visit me at www.californialongtermcare.com for information and assistance with Long Term Care Insurance in California.

Tax Deductions For Long-Term Care Insurance Increase 3 Percent in California

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has just announced the increased deductibility levels for long-term care insurance policies purchased in 2010.

First, the maximum deductible limit for an individual now exceeds $4,000.  That should get some people’s attention – even though few individuals qualify for the personal deduction.  Second, the levels were increased for 2010.  Pension contribution limits for 2010 were NOT increased.

Here are the 2010 limits:

Attained Age Before Close of Taxable Year

Age 40 or less:  $ 330

More than 40 but not more than 50:      $ 620

More than 50 but not more than 60:  $1,230

More than 60 but not more than 70:  $3,290

More than 70:  $4,110

The per-diem limitation under 7702(d)(4) for calendar year 2010 is $290.

Visit www.californialongtermcare.com for assistance with long term care insurance in California.

Baby Boomers Prepare for the Financial Care of Aging Parents in California

Baby Boomers and Aging Parents – Six Tips to Prepare For Their Care

By Katie B. Marsh

Although there is some debate over the exact age range of the Baby Boom generation, the US Census Bureau identifies most Boomers as those who were born between the years 1956 to 1965. In any case, whether you were born within that time frame or fairly close to it, chances are you are beginning to deal with end-of-life issues regarding your elderly parents. Your many considerations run the gamut from the practical to the spiritual and everything in between. So, where do you begin?

Caregivers. Imagine if we ended our lives as babies, completely dependent on a caregiver tending to all of our needs: loving us, feeding us, changing our diapers. Imagine now that we are not as cute as little babies but still have the same need to be cared for gently with love and respect. Who would you want to take care of you in this situation? Who do your parents want to care for them? This question should be posed directly to your parents. Don’t assume you know the answer. What they may have said 10 to 15 years ago may not still hold true today as they are closer to facing their mortality.

Finances. As we know, in our society it’s considered impolite to ask someone about their finances. Many adult children hesitate to inquire about the exact state of their parents’ finances for fear that their parents will think that the real questions is about potential future inheritance money. But it’s extremely important to have an honest discussion about finances at this point in life. First of all, you need to know if your parents have long-term care insurance. This is the only type of insurance that pays for future assistance that may be needed in the performance of activities of daily living. And, as the name implies, it helps cover the cost of long-term care usually for an undetermined length of time. Long-term care insurance combined with your parents’ net worth, any financial assistance from family, and personal preferences will all factor in to determining where and how your parents live out their final years.

Memoirs. The written word is a way for us to live on beyond this lifetime. Encourage your parents to share their unique stories on paper. My great grandfather actually typed his life story and had it bound in leather and embossed in gold leaf. My brother, sister, and I cherish it and each wish we had our own copy.

Legal Instruments. A living trust is a very important instrument for any family with assets to bequeath. Its main purpose is to avoid probate. Much of a family’s estate can be lost through probate; setting up a living trust is a way to prevent such a loss. It is best to hire an attorney to set up a living trust tailored to your family’s specific needs.

The next consideration is to find out to whom your parents have given or intended to give power of attorney. Power of attorney assigns power to an individual to act on your behalf to handle all of your legal and business matters in the event that you are unable to do this for yourself.

Lastly, an advance directive is a legal instrument prepared in advance by an individual. It gives health care instructions to your care providers in the event you are unable to conduct such matters on your own. A living will, power of attorney, health care proxy, and Five Wishes are all forms of an advance directive.

Possessions. A Last Will and Testament is the instrument to be prepared by your parents to assign care for their dependents, if any. This can include pets as well. Also, this is the legal mechanism through which they can identify one or more persons to manage their estate and provide instructions for the distribution of their personal possessions. This includes everything from real estate and expensive jewelry to the simplest sentimental items. Funeral and burial instructions can also be outlined here. Although this is a legal document, completing one can give great comfort to your parents, giving them control and certainty over one aspect of their lives.

Final Messages. Encourage your parents to write letters to each of their children if they feel comfortable doing so. Some families even make audio or video recordings of their elders. It can be about anything – a full life story, funny anecdotes, family stories, or loving good-byes to each of their children. My husband’s grandmother came to this country from Armenia and she recounted her tumultuous life on CD. He cherishes it and plans to share it with our children when they are older.

Your parents are entering a time of life where many people feel particularly vulnerable. This can be especially difficult for parents who are used to being in charge and may not be comfortable at all with the reversal of roles. Please keep that in mind as you gather information from them and help them create a plan for the future. If done tactfully and respectfully, this time of life can bring you closer to your parents than ever before.

Katie B. Marsh is co-author of The Birth of Dying: A Sensitive Workbook to Help You Broach and Explore End-of-Life Issues with Your Terminally Ill or Elderly Loved One http://BooksForSharing.com/

(c) Copyright – Katie B. Marsh. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Katie_B._Marsh

Visit www.californialongtermcare.com for information and assistance with long term care insurance in California.

Long Term Care Insurance Policy Choices in California

From LongTermCareInsurance.Org

Most Long Term Care policy decisions revolve around Setting of Care, Benefit and Elimination Periods and, if you wisely want it and can afford it, Inflation Protection. While every policy is different ( and you should thoroughly understand all the wording ) the most common decisions are found below:

Where Might You Need Long Term Care?

Facility Only – Covers care received in a licensed Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility, but not for care received in your home or in non-licensed care settings.

100% Integrated Home Care – Covers care received both in a licensed Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Facility, plus non-licensed settings and home care.

How Much Will You Need?

Maximum Daily Benefit can be from $50 – $400
How will your Long Term Care insurance policy to pay out per day? This can also be paid in weekly amounts.

Benefit Period choices: Can be 2, 3, 4, 5 or Unlimited years
How long will your policy pay for your Long Term Care?

Elimination Period: Can be for 0, 20, 30, 60, 90 or 100+ days
How long can you afford to wait before your LTCi policy starts to pay? Longer elimination period = lower premium, but if you choose a longer elimination period, make sure you have the savings or assets to cover that period of care.

Inflation Protection: 5% Annually Compounded or 5% Simple inflation
Increases the dollar value of your benefit each policy year. 5% Compounded is recommended for people under 70 years of age in order to keep up with the 6% inflation that is currently being experienced in the health care sector. Many individuals age 70-80 choose 5% Simple and most people over 80 choose not to pay for an Inflation Rider, as it might not be needed.

Inflation Riders increase the premium price considerably for regular LTCi policies, but considering the rate of inflation, not buying one at a younger age is risky.

Original Content: http://longtermcareinsurance.org/longtermcareinsurance.html#gpm1_3

Visit www.californialongtermcare.com if you have any questions, or need help with a Long Term Care Insurance policy in California.

Insure Your Retirement Funds with Long Term Care Insurance in California

Insuring Your Retirement Funds

It might sound strange to be told to insure your retirement funds, but after working hard and diligently saving all that money, wouldn’t you want to make sure that the funds will be there for you when you need them?

As you move into retirement, you are also moving towards age-related health problems. Events beyond your control, such as stroke, heart disease and cognitive impairment can change one’s way of life.

Many people are under the impression that government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid will cover the costs of long term care. Medicare will cover some skilled nursing for a limited period. Medicaid will only cover long term care costs for impoverished individuals. Health insurance does not cover nursing home or other long term care costs except for short-term rehabilitation.

Out of pocket costs for needed long term care resulting from age-related health problems such as home care, nursing home or assisted living will quickly deplete retirement funds and leave the remaining healthy spouse impoverished.

Long term care insurance is the answer to insure your retirement funds and provide protection so that the money stays intact and at the same time insurance provides a way to pay for elder care services.

In his book “ The Total Money Makeover ,” Dave Ramsey says of long term care insurance, “If you are over sixty, buy long term care insurance to cover in-home care or nursing home care. The average nursing home stay costs $40,000 per year, which will crack and scramble a nest egg in a heartbeat. Dad in the nursing home can use up Mom’s $250,000 savings in just a few short years.”

Long term care Insurance to insure your retirement makes sense. You insure your car against damage, your home against fire, and you purchase life insurance, so why not insure what can be the largest and most devastating risk to you and your family? And unlike the other risks you insure against, long term care is the most likely to happen. Long term care insurance will also help you keep your independence and dignity and allow you to make choices about where you want to spend your final years.

Here are some specific reasons for buying long term care insurance:

•  If you are married and you have a need for long term care, your spouse will be able to pay for an outside caregiver and receive needed rest and recuperation.

•  If your children promise to take care of you, then when the time comes that you need care, insurance will help them do that by paying for aides to help with tasks such as bathing and incontinence.

•  If you are single and a need for long term care arises and you have no family who can help you, insurance can pay for and coordinate that care.

•  If you have the desire to leave assets behind when you die, insurance will help preserve those assets from the cost of long term care.

“You should also consider buying long term care insurance at a younger age. There is an advantage for doing this. The premium is lower.

For example, a person, currently age 45, buying a typical policy with a spouse, could spend $21,146 in total premiums to age 78.

Suppose this same person chooses to wait to buy the equivalent coverage at age 65.

If that same policy were available in the future, the couple that waits could pay $52,566 in total premiums over their 13 remaining years to age 78. Because they waited, they would pay 2 ½ times more for the same policy.

In addition to the rates going up with age, the health qualifications will be stricter and development of health problems related to aging may even disqualify a person from obtaining a policy.” “The 4 Steps of Long Term Care Planning,” National Care Planning Council

There are dozens of long term care insurance companies selling a multitude of different policy options. It can become very confusing. For each policy, there are literally thousands of benefit combinations for home care, assisted living, nursing home care, waiting periods, payment amounts, inflation riders, and the list goes on.

You can take the time to do your own research or find a competent long term care insurance agent.

Here is a checklist of some of the things you need to know before you purchase a policy.

LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE BUYING CHECKLIST

The more “yes” answers you get the better off you are.

1) Is the insurance company rated by A. M. Best (the rating company)

with a rating of at least A, A+ or A++?

2) Is it a large diversified company with deep pockets and selling more

than just long term care insurance?

3) Is the insurance representative an expert in long term care

insurance? (Because of its complexity, almost all LTCi experts only

sell LTCi; they seldom sell anything else.)

4) Does the representative have a degree and/or industry financial

designations?

5) Does the representative own a personal long term care insurance

policy for himself or herself?

6) Is the policy you like tax qualified, and if not, do you understand the

ramifications?

7) Are there at least 6 ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) allowed for

in the benefit certification?

8 Does it allow “standby assistance”?

9) Is it a “pool of money” as opposed to a “stated period”?

10) Is it “integrated” as opposed to “2-pool”? (2-pool is not allowed in

many states.)

11) Do you understand how the elimination period works? (This is

extremely important.)

12) Does it have prohibitive cost containment provisions?

13) Is there any “capping” or other future reduction of automatic benefit

increase riders?

14) Do you understand how the waiver of premium works?

15) Does the assisted living facility benefit pay the same as for nursing

home?

16) Are you buying adequate home care coverage?

17) Does the company have a history of premium rate stability without

periodic increases?

18) Does the policy pay for homemaker services?

19) Does the policy offer an alternative plan of care for services that

don’t exist today?

The National Care Planning Council provides a list of long term care insurance specialists and on its website at www.longtermcarelink.net .

Visit us at www.californialongtermcare.com for help with your retirement needs in California.

What is Long-Term Care Insurance? Find out more about your options in California

Traditional Long-Term Care Insurance

Traditional Long-Term Care Insurance used to be viewed as “nursing home insurance” because most policies from 15 years ago only offered that one option. Today, that is hardly the case.  Long-term care insurance now covers adult day care, in-home care, assisted living, and nursing home care. These policies are considered comprehensive in nature. Now we refer to long-term care insurance as “lifestyle insurance”.

Who CAN’T Get Long-Term Care Insurance?

Underwriting Explained

When you apply for a Long-Term Care Insurance plan, you must go through underwriting. Underwriting means that the company will check your medical records to determine what medical problems you may currently have, or have had in the past. They want to know your overall health history. If you have been diagnosed with short-term memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or if you have had a stroke with permanent physical impairment, you may not qualify. People who have survived cancer and are treatment free for a certain length of time can often qualify. Each insurance company has their own underwriting guidelines. It is best to talk to your agent, or call the company directly with any specific questions about health issues. Height and weight are also a consideration when applying. Sometimes the insurance company will send a registered nurse to the home to ask a few questions, and take some more medical history, or they may just call on the phone for a brief interview.

Qualifying to USE the Benefits of a Long-Term Care Insurance Plan

Activities of Daily Living

When it’s time to use your tax qualified Long-Term Care Insurance plan (taxes to be discussed in a later chapter), the insured person must need help or substantial assistance with 2 out of 6 activities of daily living for a period of 90 days or greater. This need for care must be certified by a licensed healthcare practitioner such as a nurse or physician.

These activities of daily living include:

Bathing

Dressing

Eating

Toileting

Continence

Transferring (i.e.moving from the bed to a chair)

Or, the insured must have a cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. A cognitive impairment means that although a person may be physically able to perform all of the activities listed above, they cannot remember or rationalize how to do those activities. One example would be bathing. Sometimes people with dementia are physically able to take a bath, but can’t remember to do so, or can’t remember why this is important. Or, perhaps when getting dressed, they put on 5 shirts instead of one.

Comprehensive vs. Facility Only Plans

Comprehensive Plans

A comprehensive plan covers all aspects of long-term care: in-home care, adult day care, assisted living, and nursing home care. These plans are designed to help people stay at home longer, and also assist them with transitions to other levels of care as needed. Most consumers want to stay at home for as long as possible. A comprehensive plan will satisfy that desire.

Facility Only Coverage

Facility only plans are still available on the market today. Facility only plans pay for just that, facility care only. Usually this includes assisted living and nursing home care. A facility only plan makes the most sense for folks who do not have a large network of family and friends around them, and for people who know that this may be their only option in the future.  Facility only plans are less costly than comprehensive plans, but again, offer payment only for nursing home and assisted living care. The insured person cannot live at home and use the benefits of a facility only plan.

Benefit Period

The benefit period is the length of time the policy will actually pay for care. There are many different benefit periods available including 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, 7 years, 10 years, and unlimited lifetime coverage. When purchasing long-term care insurance, keep in mind that premiums are paid for potentially the next 20 years (or until the policy holder needs care), but the plan will only last about as long as the benefit period originally selected.

People often ask, “How do I know which benefit period to choose?” “How do I know how long I might need care?”

Obviously, there is no way to really determine how long a person might need care. However, the best advice is for each individual to take a look at their own personal health history, and their family history.  If there is a history of chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, it might be worthwhile to consider a longer benefit period.

Visit us at www.californialongtermcare.com with any questions, and for more information on obtaining Long-Term Care Insurance in California.